Comparing the 2018 Top-100 Australia golf course rankings

Every two years Australian Golf Digest and Golf Australia Magazine release their list of Australia’s Top-100 golf courses. Here is a comparison (and discussion) between the two of them.

The view from the 15th tee at Cape Wickham Golf Links on King Island, Tasmania.

We’ve been wanting to share this for a while but for some reason it keeps getting pushed back, but in the wake of Inside The Ropes fantastic podcast chatting about the top-100 golf course ranking lists (you can listen to it below), we thought it was time to share it all in one big post.

If you don’t already know, Australian Golf Digest and Golf Australia Magazine publish a list of Australia’s Top-100 Golf Courses every two years. Each magazine has its own slightly different criteria by which a course ranking panel rates and then ranks the best golf courses in Australia.

Right off the bat I should tell you that I’m one of the members of the Golf Australia Magazine course ranking panel and can tell you all members of the judging panel (including those I’ve from Australian Golf Digest) do their best to judge a course as objectively as possible. Even disregarding how well, or poorly they played the golf course!

But despite the professionalism with which the rankings are done, it’s still a very subjective process and one that should be taken as just a bit of fun.

Having said that, it’s amazing how much importance many clubs place upon these lists. The desire to rank higher and higher every year is often put ahead of making sure the golf course is fun, interesting and playable for all golfers.

The short par-4 3rd hole at Royal Adelaide Golf Club.

It’s easy to understand why though as these magazine issues are often their best sellers for the year and many golfers regard the lists as a bucket list of sorts and a means of determining which golf courses they will try to play next.

With all this in mind, here are a few bits and pieces comparing the two lists.

Make sure you also have a listen to the great Inside The Ropes podcast where the editors of Australian Golf Digest and Golf Australia Magazine, Steve Keipert and Brendan James chat with Andy Maher, Mark Hayes and Mike Clayton about both lists.


2018 Top-100 Golf Courses – Australian Golf Digest
2018 Top-100 Golf Courses – Golf Australia Magazine


Ellerston’s famous par-3 6th hole.

Golf courses ranked in same position in both lists:
Royal Melbourne West (1), Cape Wickham Links (3), Ellerston (7), Kooyonga (25).

Golf courses making their debut:
AGD: Black Bull (76),  Cathedral Lodge (16), Ocean Dunes (10).
GA: Ocean Dunes (8), Royal Canberra (Westbourne Course) (20), The Eastern (South Course) (47), The Eastern (North Course) (67), Joondalup Resort (Quarry/Lake course) (71), RACV Royal Pines Resort (Green/Gold Course) (74).

Golf courses ranked on both lists within 5 places of each other (GA Mag – AGD):
Royal Melbourne West (1-10), Cape Wickham Links (3-3), Barnbougle Dunes (2-4), Kingston Heath (4-2), Barnbougle Lost Farm (5-6), Royal Melbourne East (6-8), Ellerston (7-7), Ocean Dunes (8-10), New South Wales (9-5),

Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne’s famous sandbelt region.

Royal Adelaide (10-9), The National – Moonah (11-12), Victoria (12-11), The Lakes (14-18), Metropolitan (15-13), The National – Old (17-15), Lake Karrinyup (18-17), Commonwealth (22-27), Links Kennedy Bay (24-28), Kooyonga (25-25), Brookwater (29-24),

Moonah Links – Legends (33-34), Royal Sydney (41-38), The National – Ocean (55-50), Avondale (61-58), Mount Lawley (65-69), Kalgoorlie (66-62), Black Bull (78-76), Narooma (87-89), Eynesbury (88-90).

Golf courses that appear in Golf Australia Magazine’s top-100 list but not in Australian Golf Digest:
Eastern (47), Cranbourne (64), Eastern – North (67), Joondalup – Quarry/Lake (71), Tasmania (80), Warrnambool (84), Royal Fremantle (90), Riversdale (91), Manly (94), Yarrawonga – Murray (95), Twin Waters (96), Royal Hobart (98), Royal Perth (99).

Golf courses that appear in Australian Golf Digest’s top-100 list but not Golf Australia’s Magazine:
Cathedral Lodge* (16), Western Australian (50), Capricorn International – New (68), Secret Harbour (80), Arundel Hills (83), Cypress Lakes (85), Castle Hill (93), The Heritage – St Johns (94), Mount Compass (96), Kooindah Waters (97), Noose Springs (98), Macquarie Links (99), Paradise Palms (100).

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